Advantages Good service
Disadvantages Prices can be beaten
When looking to buy CD’s and DVD’s online my usual choices are CdWow and occasionally if the price is right DVD.co.uk but I’m always prepared to give others a go and with this in mind over the last few months I’ve used Blackstar.co.uk quite a lot and I thought it was about time to do a review on the site…Blackstar are a UK based company specialising in DVD’s, VHS tapes, computer and console games as well as some accessories. It delivers worldwide but only with UK addresses is delivery free.
The ‘Home’ tag refers to the one you’re on and the rest are (on the LHS) DVD, VIDEO, GAMES, ACCESSORIES and on the far right HELP, MYSHOP, MYBASKET. Thus all the relevant links you need to use the site are here. Clicking on any of the LHS tags will take you to a similar page to the Home page but one that solely deals with the type of products you clicked on.Registration
On first use once you’ve found something to buy you will have to register with the site in order to go further…so what’s the registration process like?Very easy. Not much information required, you need to give your E-mail and set up a password a confirmation E-mail will be sent to your account and off you go.
Whether you are buying DVD’s videos or games each page will have a series of hyperlinked titles that on clicking will allow to access more detailed information about the product. This will include very useful information, for instance for most DVD’s it will give a cast list, story resume and details of additional features as well as the price (of course). At this stage you also get a price comparison, where the RRP is quoted along with the actual price and your saving.Technical details are listed and a set of recommended similar titles is also included to tempt you to spend even more money!
If you want to spread the word of a particular product to a friend an e-mail link is also there. Discount information i.e. if the particular title you are looking at is part of a combined special offer with other titles is also included on this page. Overall the information is presented clearly and is relevant.Once/if you have decide to buy you can add the title to your shopping basket and carry on shopping or go straight to the check out and pay (more of this later….)
PRODUCTS, PRODUCT RANGE, PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
If you can’t find what you’re looking Blackstar provide what they call a ‘VIDEO HUNT’ service for a VHS price of £16.99 and a DVD price of £27.99 they will search for any item that is not listed or has been deleted. They don’t actually tell you what sources they use but they do state that it could take several months of searching and that some may not be available as new copies. Older titles they say will be checked for picture quality etc. and of course no guarantee is given that the item will be found. I have not yet used this service but if it works it is certainly is a plus point for the site.The special offers section is definitely worth checking out. For DVD’s offers start out at £4.99 and are certainly competitive with other online stores…
For exampleReservoir Dogs (1991) widescreen –
Some of the more recent titles can be less or a bargain thoughHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets-
All the major titles I looked up where in stock and delivery was immediate.I have used the site less for games but the overall impression id the same as for DVD’s and Videos. The games section is subdivided into Playstation, X-box, PC, Gamecube and Gameboy advance. Clicking on any of these sections will simply give you pages of titles listed in no particular order so it is best use the search facility. The games home page as all the features, special offers, charts etc as the DVD/video pages and is similarly easy to use. Again the selection seems good and the prices competitive.
As is always true with any online site if price is your prime concern then shop around, no site will be consistently the lowest in price!The accessories pages will show you products ranging from blank CDs to DVD wipes to replacement remote controls.
Most information to using the site and the answers to the most commonly asked questions can be found on the Help section menu. This information is very clearly displayed and easy to access. If all else fails contact details are also displayed with a separate complaints and customer care section. Telephone e-mail and fax details are available for both.Once you have registered and logged on you will also be able to access the My Shop section, which will include all you registration and shipping address detail. This is the place where you can alter any of this information. You can also check out your order history and track any outstanding items.
Finally the My basket section will allow you to see what is in your shopping basket, give you the option to remove or add items and allow you to progress to the checkout.
The payment system is standard. As in most online shops credit card or charge card is acceptable make an order. Most major cards are accepted including Visa,
Master Card, Delta, American Express, Switch/Solo,Visa Electron. For UK users cheques are also accepted.
Overall the site was easy to use, with a good search facility and competitive in pricing although CDWow consistently beats it if they stock the item…I would recommend you use Blackstar.co.uk for reliability and quality service.
© Mauri 2003
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